Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"Is it Worth It?" - A Message from Acts 14:1-22

Here we are again, friends, ready to learn from God's Word.

In this message I ask you to wrestle with the question, "Is it worth it?"  Is is worth whatever it takes to fulfill your God-appointed purpose in life?  God often asks much from us, sometimes he asks a little. Either way, is it worth whatever it takes to say "Yes" to God?  Only you can answer that question.

Saul (aka; Paul) and Barnabas are our models of willingness as they venture from Jerusalem into the Gentile world to share the Gospel. I'd love to hear from you as to how the Lord spoke to you in this message.

Use the outline, below, to follow along, then let me know...and God bless you as you are obedient and willing to his call, Kirk McCormick

“Is it Worth It?
Acts 14:1-22

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.  - Frederick Buechner,

Vignette 1 - Is it Worth rejection from many to save a few?

Acts 14:1-3 - “At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish
synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed.  2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.  3 So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. [Then listen to verse 4…] 4 The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. 

Vignette 2 - Is it Worth making intentional conversation to heal the crippled?

** Paul and Barnabas think so as we read about The miracles of healing continuing in Acts 14…

Acts 14:8-10 - “In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

Vignette 3 - Is it Worth correcting the popular customs in order to honor God?

Acts 14:11, 14-17 - “When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!”

…at first, Paul and Barnabas didn’t understand…probably a language barrier

…but once they understood what was happening, Paul and Barnabas confronted the situation = they were willing to correct/offend the people acting under their superstition/custom in order to Honor God.

14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting:  15 “Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. 16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”

The Result:  v. 18 -

“Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.”

Vignette 4 - Is it Worth suffering to fulfill your God-given mission?

Acts 14:19-20 - “Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.  20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.”

Side Note:  This potential of suffering does not mean that we are to seek suffering… or even put up with it.

…Remember what Jesus said to the disciples in Matthew, Mark and Luke (9:5, below) -

“If people do not welcome you,
shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town,
as a testimony against them.”

Vignette 5 - Is it Worth hardship to experience the Kingdom of God?

Acts 14:21-22 - “They preached the good news in that city [Derbe] and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 - “For our present troubles/hardships are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

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